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Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson commits to Iowa

[ 5 ] July 7, 2011 |

The defensive line is a top priority on Iowa’s list of recruiting needs for 2012, and the Hawkeyes took a big step Thursday toward addressing the area.

Jaleel Johnson, a highly touted defensive tackle from Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Ill., verbally committed to Iowa, ultimately selecting the Hawkeyes over Michigan State after whittling down a list of scholarship offers from schools such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Illinois and Arizona.

Johnson, listed at 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds, is rated by Rivals, Scout and 247sports as a four-star prospect. He revealed his decision Thursday morning on his Facebook page when he posted: “After long talks with friends and family it has come down to michigan state and the university of iowa. Long story short, I JUST COMMTTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA!! HAWKEYES BABY!!!”

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in May that defensive line and receiver were the two main areas the Hawkeyes needed to address with their 2012 class. Iowa lost three starting defensive linemen from its 2010 team, and this fall’s group has five more seniors.

Johnson and several of the top high school players in Illinois spent Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago for a photoshoot for the cover of recruiting guru Tom Lemming’s preseason magazine.

“He loves the Iowa coaches, thinks Kirk Ferentz is the greatest guy around, and they want him as a defensive tackle,” Lemming said. “He’s a big guy, he’s really wide. He has a ton of offers. This is a big catch for Iowa. … He’s a dominating run stuffer on defense and blocks everything up the middle.”

Johnson is believed to be the sixth player to commit to Iowa’s 2012 class and the second defensive lineman. The Hawkeyes secured a commitment last month from Nebraska defensive end prospect Drew Ott.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andy Hamilton: University of Iowa graduate Andy Hamilton is originally from Williams, Iowa, and started at the Des Moines Register in August after 12 years at the Press-Citizen. He covers wrestling for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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